Air Quality Alert
A plume of wildfire smoke drifted overhead into the Finger Lakes overnight, leading to declining air quality throughout the region early Thursday morning.
Almost all air quality sensors are starting the day in the Red—Unhealthy zone with Air Quality Index values between 151-200. This will most likely be the case throughout the day, with little overall movement with the plume.
These levels of air quality are worse than what our region experienced yesterday and are considered unhealthy for everyone.
Besides the smoke, today will be a quiet day. The hazy skies will obscure a mix of sun and fair-weather clouds. No precipitation is expected.
Temperatures will rise into the mid and upper 70s. Without the smoke, it would likely be a couple degrees warmer. Dewpoints will be comfortable in the mid and upper 50s. Nighttime temperatures will drop into the 50s.
Winds aloft will turn more to the south and southwest tonight, but there is plenty of smoke throughout the Ohio River Valley that will be moved into our region on these winds. Smoke concentrations are not expected to change much Friday, and I would expect another day of potentially unhealthy air.
Temperatures will get a boost tomorrow with the southerly winds, though again, with the smoke, it will probably be a couple of degrees cooler than it would be otherwise. Look for highs in the low and mid 80s. Dewpoints will increase as well, reaching the 60s by the afternoon.
During the afternoon, some showers and thunderstorms will develop. The timing, coverage, and most likely location of these storms are still a bit uncertain. It will be a rare opportunity to observe whether the smoke in the atmosphere serves as an enhancement in rainfall rates or lightning rates due to the extra particulate matter.
Most of the showers and storms should dissipate shortly after sunset, but temperatures will remain warm and muggy through the night, with lows in the 60s.
Weather This Weekend and Next Week
It is too early to say for sure how the smoke will evolve for Saturday. Southerly winds will continue, which should eventually lead to improving conditions. The current smoke models only run out until 2 AM Friday night but do show vastly improving conditions upwind across the Ohio Valley, so there is hope for an improvement.
Additional showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop on Saturday, mostly in the afternoon. However, there is not much in the way of a trigger to get these storms going, so they may end up rather hit-or-miss.
There will be some wind energy in the atmosphere so that whatever storms form may develop into a cluster or two with a locally strong wind risk.
Temperatures Saturday should reach the low 80s with muggy dewpoints well into the 60s.
The chances for smoke should continue to decline as we head into Sunday, but the chances for scattered showers and storms will remain. Overall, Sunday looks less favorable for showers and storms than Saturday does, but at least a few should pop up. Between the two days this weekend, there will likely be some areas that miss out on all the rain.
Sunday will remain warm and muggy, with early morning and overnight temperatures sticking to the 60s and daytime highs into the 80s.
At some point Monday or Monday night, the chances for rain and thunderstorms should increase and be more widespread. There is a small chance that this could be delayed until early Tuesday as well. It is too uncertain to pinpoint more specifically at this time.
The unsettled weather will gradually pull away on Tuesday into Wednesday and Thursday. This will only cause temperatures to rise, with highs commonly reaching the mid 80s. Humidity levels will remain high as well, with dewpoints in the 60s throughout the week.
More unsettled weather looks possible towards the end of next week and the following weekend.
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.
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